In addition to its new license with USA Baseball, Panini America made several announcements during the company’s corporate address on Monday. Among those:
- They’ll be revealing a 7 1/2″ foot long booklet card–the ‘world’s longest trading card’–which will consist of each of 36 NFL rookies who attend the league’s rookie premier event. The card will contain 36 jersey swatches and autographs, be numbered to five and debut in National Treasures to be released in about a week.
- There won’t be any ‘official’ NBA rookie cards this year. Three late season basketball card releases will contain redemption cards for what will be rookie cards from this season. Otherwise, next year’s cards will have both this year’s rookie cards and next year’s.
- A “hobby shop owners only” phone line aimed at getting stores prompt answers to questions and issues. No word on when it will be in place but Panini’s Jason Howarth said it would be sometime in 2012
- Usually it’s just polite applause at the end of each presentation for trading card makers but Panini executives earned some cheers for promising they would bring back the Black Friday promotion and expand it to Canada in 2012.
- The company offered some statistics on its production this year including the use of three million uniform swatches
- Panini’s CEO, Mark Warsop, said the company believes retail and hobby programs can benefit each other, with young collectors often being introduced to the hobby via large chain discount store ‘blaster boxes’.
- The company’s HRX video cards are now “widely accepted as key product hit for future product releases”. The company says the cards, which generated some mainstream media attention, will return starting with Certified football. Cam Newton, Mark Ingram and Andy Dalton will be featured. Look for a Bryce Harper card down the road as well.
On Sunday, there was a panel discussion about fake patches in some of the major trading card releases. Unscrupulous individuals have been able to lift ordinary swatches out of some products and replace them with nicer looking and potentially more valuable fakes. It’s an embarrassing problem for manufacturers. Leaf’s Brian Gray told a panel that every patch card his company makes is posted on the company’s website. Gray also claimed that some of the major corporate autograph sellers, some of which have agreements with current and former athletes– were buying some inventory from other sources and adding their hologram.
The various legal disputes in the hobby–and the long term issues that come with them–were part of an afternoon panel Monday. The use of photographs by card companies are at the heart of recent disputes between Upper Deck and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Topps vs. astronaut Buzz Aldrin. Topps won round one of that case, but it may not be over.
Check Out My Cards says it is now posting 60,000 cards to its website each week and has hired more staff to process the shipments that come from those who want to sell but would rather not do the work themselves. The company now has 35 employees. They’ve sold more than two million cards and have four million currently in inventory. Surprisingly, there are some shop owners here who had not heard of them until now.